A message from Father Gerry - Conflict

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Most of us have to stay at home, only going out for one form of exercise each day and an occasional trip to the shops. It’s not surprising that there is a rise in conflicts within our homes. We get annoyed with each other at the best of times, but usually there is space and time so cool off. Imagine that every time you get cross with someone you blow into a balloon. Normally you can get away from the person who is annoying you, and it’s like letting the air out of the balloon. Now it’s harder to cool down, to let the air out of the balloon. Think of what happens if you keep on blowing into the balloon, it keeps getting bigger and bigger until, bang, it bursts. The same thing can happen with our anger; if it doesn’t get chance to go away it just gets bigger and bigger until, bang, it explodes into conflict.

The bible gives some advice, ‘Do not let the sun go down on your anger’ (Ephesians 4.26, NRSV). The bible is telling us that we need to get rid of our anger quickly and not let it grow fester in our lives. If we do that it will explode into conflict. One way we can let the air out of the balloon of our anger is to talk openly as sensitively to the person who is making us cross. In the Holy Quran (Chapter 41 verse 34) it is written "The good deed and the bad deed are not alike. Repel the bad deed and speech with what is better, and you will certainly find that those whom you had enmity with will become your good friends". Repelling bad speech helps stop the conflict between people. Good speech has the power to changes enmity, disagreement and anger into peace and harmony.

It is very easy to be ruled by our anger and say bad things, it is hard to speak peace when we are angry. It takes discipline and practice to stop ourselves saying hurtful and bad things. The alternative is more and more argument and conflict. That hurts us just as much as it hurts the person we are arguing with. Buddha said, "To be angry is to let others' mistakes punish yourself." He also said, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." I particularly like the picture in that second quote from the Buddha. It really gets over how my anger and conflict will hurt me.

Having said all of that, at times, anger can still surface. This is usually when there is an abuse of power. Where someone feels they have the ‘right’ to overpower you. In such circumstances, the right deed is not to talk to the abuser, but to get help. That is why safeguarding is just as important in our academy during this lockdown as at other times. Please use the school website to seek support on anything that’s on your mind.


Father Gerry